TEDx Riverside brought together 20 speakers for an eight-hour marathon of inspiration on Thursday at the Fox Performing Arts Center. TED conferences are brought to communities throughout the world to encourage a convergence of technology, design and entertainment. To promote education, TEDx Riverside gave 500 tickets to local high schools and filled the balcony with teenagers. It provided buses and lunch for students of Riverside Unified School District.
“Everybody in this room is a lifelong learner,” Riverside Mayor Rusty Bailey declared in his opening remarks.
Most of the speakers had Inland ties, but many have wide renown. They included Nobel laureate Richard Schrock, who earned his bachelor’s degree from UC Riverside in 1967 and is now a chemistry professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Another UCR graduate was Steve Breen, a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner for editorial cartooning and a children’s author.
The TEDx Riverside event was a model of all the Seizing Our Destiny pillars. Riversiders from of all ages and backgrounds attended the event on Thursday October, 16 as a unified city with a common interest to be entertained and inspired. Although each speaker was completely different, they all seem to be on the same wavelength of maximizing personal potential and advocating intelligent growth in our community. Riverside is a city that honors and builds on its assets to become a location of choice that catalyzes innovation in all forms, while enhancing quality of life.
The seventh edition of the Beacon Economics Regional Intelligence Report continues to show positive growth in Riverside’s economy. Unemployment is declining in the Inland Empire (8.5% as of July 2014) and the city has recovered nearly 9,700 jobs since a low point in March 2010. There’s been growth in the Leisure and Hospitality sector increasing 7.5% from July 2013 to July 2014. The new Riverside Convention Center, with 65,000 square feet of meeting space, should increase convention traffic into the City of Riverside, which should bring higher demand for hotel accommodations in and outside of the city.
Another area of growth was employment in the Education and Health sector which saw a 25% increase over the last year. This sector is vital to the City of Riverside’s economy, constituting approximately 18% of total employment in the City.
The report highlights several areas of Seizing Our Destiny’s pillars including intelligent growth and location of choice. Continuous positive economic numbers are important to gauge our economic recovery. Reporting this data is also important so Riversiders know the hard work is paying off.
A few other highlights:
Taxable sales in the City have risen 11.5% over the past year.
Home sales increased 4.9% to 908 homes from the first quarter of 2014 to the second quarter of 2014.
Apartment vacancy rates in the City have fallen to 2.4%, a 25% decrease from a year ago.
U.S. News & World Report has included California Baptist University on it’s list of the nation’s “Best Colleges” for the ninth straight year. CBU is ranked No. 38 in the West in the publication’s “Best Regional Universities” category for 2015 , up from No. 42 in the previous years rankings and No. 58 in 2013.
“This year’s ranking once again reflects the improvement in quality that California Baptist University continually strives to provide in order to enhance students’ overall experience,” said Dr. Ronald L. Ellis, CBU President.
California Baptist University’s progression on the list of “Best Regional Universities” is an outstanding representation of Seizing Our Destiny’s location of choice pillar. Only through commitment and dedication can a great University continue to make academic strides and accelerate quality of education for all of the students. Riverside has increasingly become the location of choice for college bound individuals from all over the world.
“Best Colleges” rankings are featured in U.S. News& World Report each year to aid prospective students and their parents looking for the best academic values for their money. Now in its 30th year, the annual comparative listing uses a quantitative system of 16 weighted indicators of academic excellence to rank universities. Those indicators include: student selectivity; retention and graduation rate; assessment by peer institutions; faculty resources; financial resources and alumni giving.
About 30,000 pounds of peaches, honeydew melon and other fruit was delivered to an Inland food bank Wednesday as part of a statewide effort by farmers to feed the needy. Towering columns of boxed produce sat inside the warehouse of the Second Harvest Food Bank in Riverside, waiting to be inventoried and made available to more than 400 nonprofit agencies that distribute groceries throughout Riverside and San Bernardino counties.
In those communities, farmers are paying more for water and have fallowed almost 780 square miles of fields, an area the size of Orange County, said Mike Wade, executive director of the California Farm Water Coalition in Sacramento. “We know demand is up, food costs are up and it’s harder for people to make ends meet,” Wade said. “We want people to understand it takes water to grow food.”
“This will probably all be gone by tomorrow afternoon,” said Bill Carnegie, the Second Harvest president, gesturing toward the sweet-smelling boxes in his agency’s Jefferson Street warehouse.
Tony Delfin visits the Second Harvest warehouse two or three times a month, where he chooses from fresh produce, rice, granola bars, salsa, flour and other goods. The donations come from Walmart, Target, grocery stores and manufacturers; the items might be dented, mislabeled or close to the expiration date.
“About 400,000 people per month are served by Second Harvest. That’s up 15 percent from last year, mostly because of the faltering job market,” said Carnegie.
The generosity and care shown by all of the donating parties is a model of Riverside acting as a unified city. Riversiders collaborate and work together to build our community and accelerate the common good for all. We are a caring community that has great compassion and engages with one another for a better life for all.
Forbes just released a list a of America’s “Coolest” Cities, and Riverside ranked #8. How do you define “cool”? According to Erin Carlyle, Forbes staff, “We sought to quantify it in terms of cities, partnering with Sperling’s BestPlaces to rank the 60 largest Metropolitan Statistical Areas and Metropolitan Divisions (cities and their surrounding suburbs, as defined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget) based on six data points we weighted evenly.” The six data points used to rank the cities include: arts and culture, reacreation, diversity, local eats, population age, and net migration.
Although many might dispute that Riverside should be #1 on the list, being ranked one of the “coolest” cities in the country is an outstanding representation of our beloved city being a true location of choice. Riverside has proven to be an attractive place for all types of residents, workers, professionals, entrepreneurs, and visitors. Riversiders take pride in our beloved city with countless opportunities to be entertained, amazed, and inspired. That is why the City of Riverside will continue to become a location of choice for people and organizations from allover the world.
The adventurers include: Stephanie Niechayev from Arlington High School; JulieOlson from Chemawa Middle school; Melinda Lang from Madison Elementary School; Erin Garcia from University Heights Middle School; Suzanne Priebe from Earhart Middle School; Tammy Soper from Sierra Middle School; Carla Yawney from Kennedy Elementary School; and Kristin Kund from Poly High School.
The expedition team from RUSD exemplifies Seizing Our Destiny’s intelligent growth pillar. Not only were they able to gather valuable research and data, they are now able to share the findings with their students. This experience gives students the opportunity to take their eyes out of the books briefly and connect with teachers in a fun and interesting way.
The teachers departed for their trip on July 9 and were gone through July 20. They travelled to Manitoba, Canada to measure evidence of global warming. The objective was to take water samples; assess the abundance of fish and frogs, and monitor the health of trees in the area. Teachers spent the mornings collecting data, worked in labs in the afternoons, and attended lectures in the evenings.
Three Inland Empire entrepreneurs with enough chops and hops to go pro have tapped into an unusual business model to keep their home drafts flowing. Brad McCauley, 31, Jason Castonguay, 38, and Philip Vieira, 29, are exceptionally bright science and computer geeks with a thirst for creating innovative beers and ales. But they lack the big bucks for a startup.
The concept is to help nanobrewing neophytes shed their amateur status by allowing them to work in a collaborative space where they can share equipment, develop recipes in a commercial setting and test-market directly to the public.
It is interesting to see entrepreneurs collaborating to help build each others brands by sharing knowledge and equipment, the brewers at Brew Crew Inc exemplify Seizing Our Destiny’s intelligent growth pillar. Working everyday to harness entrepreneurial spirit within the community, Riverside embraces economic growth and directs it so it maintains and improves our already outstanding quality of life.
Brew Crew, an 1,800-square-foot manufacturing and retail facility at Suite G, 11626 Sterling Ave., contains two brewing systems, a walk-in cooler to store kegs and a bar with 16 taps. There’s seating for 50, 25 in the store front and 25 in the warehouse when brewing isn’t happening.
The trio of brewers are contract laborers working under the umbrella of a single corporation, Brew Crew, which leases the building. Its co-founders, CEO McCauley and Vince Pileggi, chief business officer, scrambled for 18 months to obtain all of the licensing and permits before opening the brewery and tap room six weeks ago. Depending on drink sizes, prices run from $1.50 to $7. There’s no food served, but customers may bring their own. “There are a lot of home brew clubs in this area that have amazing brewers,” Pileggi said. The goal is to provide the resources “to incubate” fledgling brewers who hope to eventually take wing on their own. “We’re finding the best talent we can and courting others who can benefit and grow,” he said.
Riversider Chris Grigsby, 48, spent 17 years in the United States Army Infantry. His last deployment was for 13 months in Afghanistan. In February 2006, during this deployment, he met Lais Khan. Khan joined the Afghan National Army after the Taliban killed his father. When he learned to speak English he became an interpreter, who is capable of speaking four different languages.
When asked to comment on the relationship between Grigsby himself and Khan, Grigsby said, “He saved my life both directly and indirectly more than once.” After creating an unbreakable bond, when Grigsby’s deployment was over he flew home, and the two went their separate ways. Khan continued his work for the U.S. government, and Grigsby returned home to Riverside, California. They didn’t know it, but they would meet again in a very different place.
Seven years later, Grigsby received a phone call. “Lais worked for the U.S. government the last 9 years. Now that the U.S. is leaving Afghanistan, the Taliban is trying to kill him and his family,” said Grigsby. When Lais inquired about receiving a special immigrant visa and moving to America with his family of four, Grigsby didn’t just offer help to this man who had saved his life: he offered his home. A year later, Lais’ family, a family none of the Grigsby’s had ever met, moved in, bringing three trunks of their only possessions.
Since moving in, the public outpour has been amazing. From food to a car, the Riverside community has reached out to the family. One donor named Sandra Reierson passed on her family’s car to the Khan family. “We’re so glad it went to a good home. The first time we drove that car was to pick up our granddaughter,” said Sandra Reierson.
The transition for the family has been relatively smooth. The families get along well and the children have entered the local public school. We would all be lucky to have friends like the Grigsby’s.
This story of friendship, adversity, and the resilience of the human spirit is a remarkable example of seizing our destiny’s unified city pillar. We are a caring community that has compassion for all of its inhabitants, and engages with one another for a better life for all. Not only did the Grisby family generously open up their home, the people of Riverside made an effort to welcome the deserving Khan family as well, and that is exactly what sets our community apart from many others. Riversiders are working together everyday to not only address local issues, but to also have a positive impact on the region, nation and world.
Regina Louise wanted to do something big with her life, even if that meant baring her soul. From birth until age 18, Louise bounced around the foster care system in Texas, Georgia and California. Now, 50, Louise is a playwright, motivational speaker and a graduate student at the University of California, Riverside. The original play, “Bearing Our Soles,” is founded on Louise’s lonely childhood, but also tells the “shoe stories” of other authors that speak of life and love.
“Life, love, story. It’s all relational,” said Louise, who is working on a master’s degree in creative writing and writing for the performing arts. “The sole holds us up. The soul of man is what holds us up to withstand the impact that we have every day.”
Growing up in group homes and institutions made Louise long for a parental figure, a feeling she discussed in her 2003 memoirs, “Somebody’s Someone: A Memoir.” The book inspired her to write a one-woman monologue of the same name, which she wrote and performed at the Sacramento Theatre Company in 2007.
Instead of revisiting the monologue, Louise’s professor encouraged her to seek stories from others. “So I sent out a call for stories about shoes,” she said. The response was tremendous. Louise received shoe stories from individuals who also bared their souls. “’Bearing Our Soles’ is this idea to bare, expose the story… it’s the idea that our stories aren’t so different and that the idea that they bear resemblance,” Louise said. “We are more alike than we are different.”
“The work I do is in service to something much larger. In order to do something possible, it must be fueled by hope. That hope is a fuel injection, if you will, to my being possible,” she said.
“Bearing Our Soles” is a part of the MaryLu Clayton Rosenthal New Play Festival and will be performed at 8 p.m. on May 23 and 31 at the UCR Studio Theater at 900 University Ave. in Riverside.
The work of Regina Louise is an example of why Riverside is a location of choice. Our community provides an abundance of opportunities to be amazed, inspired and entertained, including arts and cultural offerings. Her story is an inspiration and it catalyzes hope.
U.S. veterans participate at King High Remembers. High school juniors interviewed 298 veterans and learned history from them Friday March 21. The crowd overflowed from the school gym into the multipurpose room and some classrooms.
The veterans were interviewed across tables in the school gym, multipurpose room and in classrooms by groups of two or three 11th graders, who asked about their war experiences, military life, homecoming, their opinion of their time in the service and current conflicts.
When Sgt. Bert Frank got home from World War II after three years in the Army, he took off his uniform and threw it on the floor. He didn’t put it back on until Friday, March 21, when he wore it to King High School in Riverside. Frank, a 90-year-old Los Angeles resident, was among 298 veterans interviewed by high school juniors in the 14th annual King High Remembers. One of those students was his grandson Joel Frank.
Like many veterans, Frank, brought a scrapbook that included some mementos of happy experiences. He was in the Army from 1942 to 1945.
Frank told students about the dances they had almost every week while he was stationed in the Philippines and USO shows with Bob Hope, King Kaiser and others. The Army showed movies, but almost all of them were interrupted by bombers that sent soldiers running for their fox holes.
The King High Remembers event that took place on Friday that allowed students to interview veterans represented the seizing our destiny pillars intelligent growth, and unified city. By interviewing the veterans directly in small groups like this gave the high school students a very valuable opportunity to learn about not only our country’s history, but also the heritage and background of local heroes. Speaking to veterans from different branches of military from numerous wars, the knowledge instilled from the veterans certainly exemplified intelligent growth, by equipping the students with information and knowledge that can’t be taught in textbooks.
The experiences shared and interaction between two different generations was a great example of Riverside being a unified city. The students were able to have intimate conversations with a melting pot of veterans. Veterans from numerous military branches in attendance ranged in war involvement, age, ethnicity, and background. The diversity of attendees enabled the students to hear a broad perspective of experiences, and to understand the commonality among all of the veterans. They were given the opportunity to respect and value the cultural heritage, distinct needs and varied input of each of the veterans, while proactively engaging with them across generational gaps.
Some veterans served in two or more wars or did not list a war. Not all of the 361 who were expected showed up. Others arrived without advance notice, making for a total of 298, social studies teachers said.